Environmental groups across Donegal have joined forces to call on landowners in the county not to sign the ‘wayleave’ documents which were sent to them by the ESB this week.
If a landowner signs the ‘wayleave’ it would allow the ESB to come onto their land and would restrict land use under and around the high voltage power line.
The ESB have written to landowners saying they have only 7 days to object to the power line but this is untrue as farmers and landowners in Sligo and Roscommon have refused access to the ESB for over ten years since receiving wayleave notices.
The ESB are offering money to landowners to put the power line on their land but they would not do this unless they knew that there is widespread opposition to this power line in Donegal! The Donegal Environmental Alliance say that the money offered to landowners by the ESB will not protect people’s health and is not enough to compensate people for the devaluation of their property.
Donegal Alternatives to Pylons, Coiste Timpeallachta Gaoth Dobhair and the Gweebarra Conservation Group are advising landowners not to sign anything presented to them by the ESB as that would give the ESB control of the land under and around the power line, including selling these rights to other companies which is a very real possibility as the ESB will be privatised in the near future.
The environmentalists are opposed to this power line going overground and across country because of the health dangers associated with living near high voltage power lines, the resultant devaluation of land and property values, the impact on the landscape and on tourism in Donegal.
Studies in the US and in England have shown that property is devalued between 30% and 80% depending on how close the power line is to people’s homes.
The Donegal Environmental Alliance believe this power line is not to improve the electricity supply in Donegal but is to take power away from existing and planned industrial wind farms. The environmentalists are also worried about the impact these wind plants would have due to the dangers of low frequency noise (noise you cannot hear) on human and animal health.
The environmentalists say that if an accident involving the power line occurs the landowner could be deemed responsible and could be sued. They have canvassed insurance companies in Ireland who say they will not insure farm lands on which a high voltage power line is erected. They are advising landowners in Donegal to ask their insurance company if they would insure them against the possibility of an accident occurring on or around the power line?
Over sixty landowners between Glenties and Gweedore have already joined the campaign and are refusing to sign the wayleave documents sent to them by the ESB. The Donegal Environmental Alliance is asking landowners to join their campaign to protect their civil rights. Landowners can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 085 75 17596 and leave their name, address and a contact number and a member of the environmental alliance will ring them back with more information.
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